Here it is! The half-scale version of Child’s Apron – CO500 from the 1912 La Mode Illustree:
It is the second pattern I’ve sewn for the Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1912 Titanic Sewing Project. My first venture into Edwardian fashion was a wire-structured hat – which you can view in older posts.
After downloading and printing the pattern pieces and instructions, I followed included directions – sequencing the rows and columns and carefully aligning the registration marks… taping along the way.
For prior practice toiles (muslins, mock-ups, or prototypes), I’ve used dolls… Hattie – the hat model – and very small-scale Fleur, who has only appeared in my sewatoile.blogspot.com Toile La La blog. But, serendipitously, I found an inexpensive home decor mannequin that seemed perfect for this project. Her name is Mimi (short for Marilyn Monroe… because of her va-va-voom curves).
In this first photo, you’ll see the assembled pattern, Mimi (draped in scrap fabric), my pincushion-lady “Camellia”, supplies, and even a La Mode Illustree illustration of the Child’s Apron.
An aside: I’m curious to know… can anyone identify the age of the quilt in the background? My great-grandmother or even great-great-grandmother made it… and in those days, women were very clever in repurposing clothing of all the family members – creating colorful and warm quilts. Our family has several of these heirlooms, which have stood the test of time. I think I’ll write a post about it later on – with close-up photos of the various prints.
Before minimizing the pattern on a copier, I had to determine the size necessary to fit Mimi. I draped, marked, and cut my own rough-draft version of the apron after examining the pattern. (This apron is not a very complicated shape.) I took the rough-draft with me to the library – where a librarian helped me fiddle with pattern-reduction until we achieved accuracy.
Reducing the La Mode Illustree 1912 Child’s Apron CO500 to fifty-percent produced a pattern that is almost perfect for Mimi. It was a bit boxy though and didn’t showcase her figure even a smidge… which would be a shame! Luckily, I had recently seen a small advertisement in one of my father’s ancient 1913 magazines. (And if any of you reading this happen to be 101-years-old, that is not ancient… it is excellent.) Here it is:
Magnified here, you can see the pattern has a dart under the arm, which gives it a lady-shape. The La Mode Illustree Child’s Apron doesn’t have a dart, but it does have straps which nicely criss-cross in back. Here’s a sketch of the back. It’s easier for me to scan a sketch than to go through photo-loading. I did try stitching along the edges of my drawing – so that was probably counterproductive – but enjoyable.
I think the La Mode Illustree Child’s Apron is prettier than the Peerless darted apron, but it needed bust darts to flatter Mimi’s figure.
The La Mode Illustree apron also includes designs for pocket embroidery, piping or binding, and scenes of children sailing a toy-ship and riding a stick-pony. For now, I only worked on the half-scale toile. I didn’t want to waste precious time embroidering… but did want to complete the look of the little apron, so I chose to stencil it with one element from the original embroidery design – the toy ship with sails:
My Good Luck Employee has slept throughout this project. Here, she looks as if she might fly away. Granted the gift of flight, she would be a true menace to birds and bumblebees.
If you are considering becoming a VPLL 1912 Project participant, you may find the following pattern assessments useful.
Vintage Pattern Lending Library Checklist:
1. Pattern Name: Child’s Apron CO500– La Mode Illustree
2. My Skill Level: Experienced/Intermediate
3. Pattern Rating: A very-well written and diagrammed pattern. Concise instructions.
4. What Skill Level would someone need to sew this pattern? Sewing this apron would not be too difficult for a determined beginner. The cutting layout is particularly straightforward. For a quick version (perhaps a holiday apron), fabric glue and ric-rac trim would easily camouflage raw edges – and shoulders could be secured with brooch pins.
5. Were Instructions Easy to Follow? The pattern is very simple, so instructions are almost inessential – but they are included and thorough.
6. Fit/Sizing: Since this is a child’s pattern and I constructed a half-scale model, I would need to make alterations in creating the garment for my own body. The pattern is intended for children between 3 and 5 years-old – and looks accurately drafted. The measurement around mid-center is 25-inches.
7. Necessary Alterations: To adapt the apron to a womanly figure (like that of the curvy mini-mannequin), I added bust darts.
Pattern Review Checklist:
1. Pattern Description: Child’s Apron – complete with ideas for embroidery, piping or binding.
2. Pattern Sizing: Pattern seems to be sized accurately for children 3 to 5 years-old, but adjusting the size would be simple.
3. Did finished product look like the pattern illustration? The pattern illustration is accurate, although the embroidery details on the pattern illustration are not clear. The included embroidery patterns are very clear and quite nice! I chose to use only a small element from the embroidery designs.
4. Were the Instructions easy to follow? Yes, the pattern is very user-friendly. I would recommend it to first-time Vintage Pattern Lending Library patrons.
5. Pattern Feature Likes/Dislikes: I loved this apron pattern. Very happy with this choice.
6. Fabric Used: Discard sheet fabric.
7. Pattern Design Changes: Added bust darts. I forgot to add seam allowance around the main apron (although the pattern instructions specified seam-allowance is not pre-drafted). I would remember to add seam-allowance on the wearable garment. Note: Pocket seam allowance is drafted into the pattern.
8. Would I recommend this Pattern? Yes. I would encourage anyone to try this apron pattern. The crossover straps at the back are a great detail and I liked that the apron is cut all in one piece (except for the pockets).
Conclusion: This Child’s Apron pattern seems very versatile. I’m looking forward to trying different variations interchanging trim options, fabrics, embroidery, and stencil technique. I will certainly make the apron for myself. I really want to make one to wear as a pinafore.